A SINGER who has performed for the Queen has praised two inspirational local lockdown heroes.

Leslay Smith, who has been a long-serving member of the Joe Loss Orchestra in London, has performed five times at Buckingham Palace and at variety shows starring Bob Monkhouse, Tom O'Connor and Les Dennis.

During lockdown, Leslay has been shielding at her home in Largs Main Street and friends Nicola Agnew and Lorette Duddy have helped by delivering shopping and other lifeline supplies.

The professional vocalist says they have also provided vital friendship after the loss of her mother to coronavirus.

The trio know each other well from the Opportunities in Retirement walking group in Largs, which Lorette co-ordinates.

As a special thank you, Leslay nominated her special friends for recognition from The Wee Craft Shop after manager Nan Mackay put up prizes for deserving locals.

Leslay said: "The home my mum was in went into lockdown and I didn't get to see her again as she passed away.

"Although I was shielding, I had to arrange the funeral myself. It has been a very difficult time but both Nicola and Lorette have been brilliant. Three times each week they have been helping with either getting shopping done or providing a helping hand. I really don't know what I would have done without them."

Nicola said: "My mum is in Hutton Park and has been looked after so I wanted to do the same for someone else."

Lorette added: "My mum and dad are in their late 80s so I have been helping them with shopping and dogwalking. I spoke to Lesley and said I would be delighted to help her too."

The duo were given a gift of their choosing from The Wee Craft Shop for their efforts.

She said: "Lorette and Nicola were great friends throughout lockdown. They have been real lifesavers."

Leslay is hoping to return to her first love - professional singing - when it is safe to do so.

She said: "I couldn't believe it when I got the opportunity to sing 'God Save the Queen' at Buckingham Palace with Queen Elizabeth so close to me that I could have touched her.

"I have performed a good few times there, including Christmas balls for the Royal Family and their staff.

"It was a fabulous time in my career. I have been singing and performing since I was 16 and I can't wait to do so again in public when it is safe."

Wee Craft Shop owner Nan Mackay said: "Both Nicola and Lorette were very deserving recipients. They are true inspirations in our community and we are thankful to Leslay for nominating them - she has an amazing story herself with her incredible singing career.

"It is wonderful to see how so many people have rallied round to help each other in Largs and this is another example."